Gold Prospecting Tips for any prospector, learn dredging, panning and the Alabama Gold Locations Gold Prospecting Tips

Thursday, July 20, 2017

How to use a blue bowl

Watch this quick video to learn how to use a blue bowl to recover fine gold from your concentrates.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Finding Gold with Google Earth pt.3

Tweaking Google Earth's Settings

Google Earth can also be used to find gold without add-ons. A few simple adjustments and one can unviel a treasure-trove of hidden gold deposits! After doing some extensive studying on ancient river beds and bench deposits, a lightbulb popped on in my head. The newest version of Google Earth has an option to show historical imagery. Depending on the area, I have seen the imagery go as far back as 20 years! Although 20 years is not quite "ancient", one can begin to notice changes in the path of a creek. Over time the creek will erode deeper into the bedrock. Over many years of erosion, creeks change their paths and leave gold deposited high above where the creek flows today. This is known as a "bench". Adjust your Google Earth Historical Imagery bar and see what has changed with the area you prospect in. You never know what you may discover and things like this keep the prospecting hobby fun! Click on the following images to view an example of Google Earth's Historical Imagery.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Gold Pictures From My Followers

This post will include gold pictures from my fellow prospectors that follow my blog. If you follow my blog and have pictures of your gold, please e-mail me your name, pictures of the gold, and the location where the gold came from (be as specific or non-specific as you want). GET THOSE PICTURES IN! Happy Prospecting!

Name: Patrick Kennedy
Description:Two Viles of gold. Top one is FLake and Four Gold from mountain Creek gold mine. Next one down is a combination of Two Gold nuggets, flake and flour gold from different parts of North Carolina. The Nuggets Are from Lucky Strike Gold mine in Marion NC. Below to the left is a piece of quartz with a gold nugget inside it, this was also found at Mountian Creek Gold Mine. 

Make the Most of Your Time!

This is a difficult thing to do and seems to drive me nuts at times. It almost makes some of my prospecting trips unenjoyable. Either I'm constantly thinking while I'm on my prospecting trip "Gotta hurry, only X amount of hours left" or when I get back I'm wondering if I could have done something different such as set the sluice up a different way. Basically what I'm getting at is, we  prospectors have to make sure we make the most of our time out in the field because you never know when you will get another chance to go. Between work, family, and LIFE, I have found it hard to get out and prospect lately, so when I do go I make the most of my time.

So how do you make the most of your time? One useful tip I have that may help speed things up for you is the way you classify. Most prospectors own a detector of some sort. I have a White's Electronics MXT. It is a great detector at picking up really small gold. When I am out in the field classifying material before I run it through my sluice, I do not even glance at the bigger material that would not pass through my 1/4" classifier. I have a homemade classifier I made out of a 5 gallon bucket that I cut a whole in the bottom and fastened 1/4" mesh hardware cloth. I simply place this bucket inside another 5 gallon bucket with a little water. Fill with material, give it a couple of twists side to side and dump. I can literally fill a 5 gallon bucket full of 1/4" classified material in about 2-3 minutes. It takes me longer to shovel than to actually classify the material!

So instead of taking 2-3 minutes to dig through each bucket of larger material before tossing out, I burn right through my bucket. Once finished, I then take my metal detector and wave it a few times over my "reject" pile to see if any gold nuggets got caught up. With most any detector, a gold nugget 1/4" or bigger in size will SCREAM in the detector so I have no worries of missing any chunks of gold. I hope this tip will help you speed up things and make the most of your time in the field.

Monday, August 22, 2011

How to Pan for Gold

In this post I will briefly discuss how to pan for gold. Panning for gold is the oldest method of gold prospecting. Before you begin to pan you need to classify your material down so it is easier to pan. Classifiers are plentiful on the market or your can make your own. Once the material is classified it is time to pan.

Grasp the pan securely with both hands while it is still under water. Begin rotating the contents in the pan as you raise it slightly from the water. Occasionally shake the pan, which will help cause the heavier contents to settle. Remove small rocks as they continually move to the top of the pan's material. Occasionally tip the pan forward in the water to permit water to carry off lighter material. Be careful, not to lose any of the heavier contents of the pan other than the rocks you remove. Eventually about a handful of concentrates will remain in the pan. With your hands, break up any mud balls that remain in the pan. You can then transfer the concentrates to a smaller "finishing" pan or keep them in the pan you started with.

Make certain the riffles are always on the lower side as you rotate the pan under water. This brings all materials across the traps. You will  develop your own method for shaking (side to side, back and forth or circular motion). Your aim in moving the pan under water is to cause the heavier gold to settle into the riffles where it will be trapped. As the contents become concentrated on the bottom of the pan and in its riffles, the total amount of material will appear smaller. Continue to tip your gold pan occasionally so that water can carry off lighter materials. Try to separate all other materials from your gold by a gentle swirling motion, leaving the gold concentrated together in the riffles.

Now it is time to retrieve your gold! Use tweezers or your fingers for the larger pieces and a gold suction bottle, also known as a snuffer bottle, to vacuum up the fine gold from the water. Over time you will begin to develop your own methods as I have. These are the instructions I started out with and eventually developed my own style of panning that works better in my opinion. Practice at home using lead shot or smashed bb pellets. These are heavy like gold and will help you with your panning method. Just be sure to count the  amount you put in to see how many you keep in the pan. Hope this helps and happy prospecting!

Here is a quick video of another style of panning. Hope you enjoy!


Saturday, August 20, 2011

Finding Gold with Google Earth pt.2

In this section of "Finding Gold with Google Earth" part 2, I will be discussing how to get the most out of Google Earth without any add-ons. This useful tool can easily be overlooked, and could show you the next paystreak or gold deposit you have been missing all along.

Over many years, creeks change their paths and/or dry up. Erosion causes a creek to change its path after many years of flooding. This in turn causes creeks to dry up. The creek dries up because the creek that was feeding the dried up creek changed its path and no longer supplies water to it. In most cases the creek turns into an underground spring. As a result of this, the vegetation on and around the ancient creek is healthier, thicker, and greener. This is easily spotted using Google Earth. Here is a photo example of what to look for:

Notice the vegetation outlined in yellow.

Notice the vegetation outlined in yellow. Observe the surrounding vegetation. Do you see how the vegetation around the underground spring is nearly dead looking? On top of the spring and along its edge is healthy, deep-green vegetation. A creek once flowed through that area and is now underground. This would be a great place to look for gold (if it is in a gold bearing area).

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Featured on MineCache

Check out our article over on MineCache!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Finding Gold with Google Earth

Google Earth is a powerful user-friendly satellite imagery viewing program. It is a very useful tool for finding gold locations. Yes, you can find gold with Google Earth by following my simple step-by-step process. Combined with the downloadable add-ons, Google Earth could easily be your main research tool for planning your gold prospecting adventures. I use this tool myself when plotting out my next prospecting trip to a new area. I have found myself using Google Earth with the add-ons I'm about to share with everyone, almost daily.One of the ad-ons will give you highly accurate GPS coordinates of old gold mines. All of the following tools/resources are totally free and will point you straight to the gold locations!

The tool I apply 100% of the time when I am beginning to stake out a new area to prospect is called MineCache. This is an AMAZING resource for locating old gold mines, gold prospects, and confirmed gold occurrences.

As you can see, the normal Google Earth imagery is unaltered. MinceCache simply adds gold mine symbols to areas on the map where past or present gold mines are. You can click on the gold mine icon and it will display the following information on the mine:

  • Operation Type
  • Development Status
  • Primary commodities
  • Comments from other MineCache users (or post your own)
You can also view more mine details which includes the following:

  • Site Name
  • State
  • County
  • Latitude (GPS Coordinates)
  • Longitude (GPS Coordinates)
  • Year Discovered
  • Years in Production
  • Operation Type
  • Deposit Type
  • Production Size
  • Development Status
  • Primary Commodities
  • Secondary Commodities
  • Other Commodities

Simply visit and register your free account so you can download the tool. A tutorial for accessing the tool with Google Earth is located on the MineCache web page or you can simply click here.

After locating a gold-bearing area with MineCache, the next resource I use is E-maps Plus ( or This is another free tool that aides in finding the contact information for the land owner of the gold-bearing area you seek to prospect.

It is very important to seek permission from land owners before venturing out on their land. Most of the information on this site pertains to prospecting in the Southeast United States. Unlike the West Coast, Eastern United States land is PRIVATELY owned in exception of National Forests/Parks. Feel free to e-mail me on tips/advice on how to approach a land owner about asking permission. My methods have worked pretty well for me.

When you access the e-maps website, you will see a map of the United States with states highlighted. These are the states you can view land owner information. (NOTE: Since my last log in, I've noticed that nowhere near as many states are available as was a few weeks ago. Not sure if it's an update and more will be added later. If someone knows another source please e-mail me and let me know so I can share with others.) Click on a state to access a county map of that state. The available counties will be highlighted. Zoom in to the area you wish to find out the owner's information. If you zoom in enough on the new version of e-maps (you may have the option to use the older version in which this will not apply), you will see the owner's name. Click the search icon in the top-right navigation bar and input the owner's name to find the information you need.
The alternative method of achieving this information is to contact the tax assessor in the county you wish to prospect to get the information you seek. I have not tried this method and it may not be free.

Optional Add-Ons

  • This will show you the different types of rock formations in any given area

  • These can be useful to view the elevation of the areas you are going to prospect to better prepare yourself for the hike in needed. google Earth uses elevation at the point of the mouse wherever you scroll, but a topographic map is a little easier to use in this manner.

I hope these gold prospecting tips help you understand how to better use coordinates and other features to find gold with Google Earth.

Google Earth

Gold Prospecting Tips

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Fine Gold Recovery Tips

This post will probably be one of the best gold prospecting tips I can give. Mainly because of the importance of recovering fine gold. Most of the gold on the earth is in this form. Here are a few tips I jotted down from the Clarkson study on fine gold recovery. If you are not familar with the Clarkson Study, it is pretty much the gold mining industry standard to keeping your fine gold in your equipment and not washing it out. A lot of effort went into this study with good results!

-screen your dirt/gravel before sluicing
-highest percentage of gold recoveries occurred at mines which screened their feed to minus one inch
-used both expanded metal and angle iron riffles on top of Nomad matting
-expanded metal riffles are efficient at recovering placer gold particles finer than 1mm
-angle iron riffles are more efficient at recovering those greater than 1mm
-slick plates allow gold to segregate to the bottom of pay gravel

Optimum Recovery Levels Specifications

-Pre-screen to ATLEAST minus 1 inch, washed thoroughly prior to sluicing, feed slowly
-Every sluice run should have a 16ft. long section of course expanded metal riffles (4-6lbs/ft^2) which is wide enough to process 8 loose cubic yds/hr/ft with at least 160 Igpm of process water per ft. of sluice width. The riffles must be tight against the Nomad matting to prevent scouring between the riffles and the matting.

These notes are based on gold mining on an industrial scale but can be applied to small-scale gold prospecting. Things from these notes I have applied to my homemade sluice box are as follows:
-sluice box length- 10"W X 48"L X 4"H
-I purchased a Keene A52 riffle tray for my riffle section
-also purchased a Keene A52 flare
-sluice box material includes the following:
-first 6" of sluice is slick-plate
-next 12" of sluice is ribbed rubber matting
-then outdoor carpet sits under the first 2 riffle sections
-3M Nomad Miners Moss sits under the remaining riffle sections
-the flare on the front acts as a slick plate as well so the material have plenty of time to wash out and let the gold fall out of suspension and get processed.

These sluice specifications are EXCELLENT at catching fine gold! I have recovered gold well into the micron range and not visible with the naked eye! Feel free to use my tips and advice and create your own!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Geological Characteristics of Gold

Gold is a chemical element with the symbol Au and an atomic number of 79. Gold is a dense, soft, shiny metal and the most malleable and ductile metal known. Pure gold has a bright yellow color and luster traditionally considered attractive, which it maintains without oxidizing in air or water. Chemically, gold is a transition metal and a group 11 element. It is one of the least reactive solid chemical elements. The metal therefore occurs often in free elemental (native) form, as nuggets or grains in rocks, in veins and in alluvial deposits. Less commonly, it occurs in minerals as gold compounds, usually with tellurium. "Source: Wikipedia"

So what does all this mean? Heres a good quick summary. Gold is yellow and very shiny in most cases. It is over 18 times heavier than water. It takes the shortest path between bends in a creek (I'll post tips about reading a creek to find where gold would naturally deposit on another post). Oh yea, did I mention it was HEAVY? That's the key. A 1 ounce nugget wouldn't move down stream at flood stage compared to a 100 POUND boulder. Because the boulder has much more mass compared to the nugget even though it is much much heavier! Gold will eventually work it's way to the bottom (top of the bedrock in the bottom of the creek) unless it is on it's way down from the source (lode deposit).

Gold Prospecting Equipment

There are many different types of gold prospecting equipment on the market. There is different types of equipment for different prospecting situations. There is equipment that runs in conjunction with water, no water, pump-driven, and good old fashioned elbow grease (hand operated)! This hobby can be back-breaking at times but there is equipment out there to make things easier on yourself.

Hand Tools/Equipment

Most, if not all, prospectors start with the common gold pan. This is really simple to use and helps teach the beginner the basic properties of gold. There are many other hand tools to choose from such as a sluicebox, rock pick, shovel, bucket, classifiers (screens the gold-bearing gravel down to size), sniper sticks, underwater viewing scopes and much more! A simple Google search of any of these tools listed will result in many webpages explaining the use of each tool.

Pump-Driven Equipment

This is where this hobby can begin to get expensive! Suction dredges (which are banned in California now btw, but we will get to this on another venting post one day!) can process a LOT of material and good gold can be found! They run off a pump and motor sitting on "pontoons" in the creek and basically the prospector uses a hose running from the pump to "vacuum" gold-bearing gravel from the bottom of the creek and it gets sent up to the surface and processed through the sluicebox mounted to the pontoons! Very nice gold grabbin' machine!
A high-banker is also a high production machine (thats if you are up to all the shoveling, bring a partner). It essentially works similar to a dredge except you are not sucking material up, you are shoveling it into the top of the sluice on the bank and the pump supplies the water to process the material. The advantage to this equipment vs. a suction dredge is being able to prospect in the winter because you do not have to get wet!